[George III.] Warrant, on vellum, bearing a very late Signature ('George R') while blind, with those of Home Secretary Richard Ryder, Robert Lukin of the War Office and Blake's patron Thomas Butts, regarding appointment of William Heydinger.

George III (1738-1820); Richard Ryder (1766-1832), Home Secretary; Robert Lukin (1772-1835), First Clerk at the War Office [William Heydinger, Deputy Assistant Commissary General to the Forces]
Publication details: 
'Given at Our Court at St. James's the twenty third day of May 1810 In the fiftieth year of Our Reign'.
SKU: 21806

On one side of a 30 x 40 cm piece of vellum, roughly landscape folio size. As is usual with vellum, aged, worn and mottled. Folded four times. Piteous scrawled signature of the king ('George R') at top left, with royal seal under paper beneath this. Tax stamp under blue paper in left-hand margin. At foot of text, towards centre, is the signature of William Blake's most important patron, Thomas Butts, Assistant Commissary of Musters: 'Entered with the Comry General of Musters | Thos Butts'. At foot of text, at left: 'Entered with the Secretary at War | [signed] Robt Lukin'. At foot of text, to right, is the signature of the Home Secretary: 'R Ryan'. The document appoints, as stated at the foot: 'William Heydinger Gent Deputy Assistant Commissary General to the Forces'. From the distinguished autograph collection of the psychiatrist Richard Alfred Hunter (1923-1981), whose collection of 7000 works relating to psychiatry is now in Cambridge University Library. Hunter and his mother Ida Macalpine had a particular interest in the illness of King George III, and their book 'George III and the Mad Business' (1969) suggested the diagnosis of porphyria popularised by Alan Bennett in his play 'The Madness of George III'.